By Anayo Ezugwu
PROFESSOR Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party, YPP, and former deputy governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has called on Ndigbo to undertake a thorough self-appraisal of their place in contemporary Nigerian politics. He said Ndigbo must become more confident in Nigerian politics and development of the country.
Speaking at the second Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Annual Lecture at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus, Moghalu said Ndigbo that did not need to prove their commitment to Nigeria because “that commitment is self-evident even to the blind”. He noted that Ndigbo are, arguably, the most Nigerian of all the country’s ethnic groups.
Moghalu regretted that other ethnic groups in Nigeria are confusing the picture of Ndigbo in the country with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB phenomenon. “IPOB is essentially a cry for justice, and there can be no peace in Nigeria without justice. The moment of truth is approaching in 2023. Another rejection of the idea of a Nigerian president from the Southeast will undoubtedly lead to greater ethnic radicalisation and more widespread separatist tendencies in the region, with the likelihood that that tendency will finally go into the mainstream.
“This would be a dangerous development, and all who are genuinely committed to Nigeria’s unity should be concerned about this scenario in a preventive manner. It is time for the civil war to really end. Ndigbo deserve their place in the Nigerian sun, as of right as Nigerians and not at sufferance,” he said.
To address Nigeria’s challenge of nation-building today, Moghalu recommended that the civil war and its impact should no longer be swept under the carpet by both present leadership at national and state levels, as well as the leading actors of the war, who are still alive today. According to him, Nigeria’s national attitude to history must change. He said history is a tool for healing and nation-building.
“This is the approach taken in all developed countries with challenging histories such as Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. The war must be addressed with recognition of the millions who died, and a simple and straightforward “I am sorry that this happened; I feel the pain of it all.
“Second, Ndigbo should pursue the agenda of both constitutional restructuring and the election of a competent, visionary Nigerian from the southeast geopolitical zone as president of Nigeria in 2023 as a matter of priority, persuading, lobbying other parts of the country within the democratic context of the imperative of this approach in order to rebalance Nigeria along the lines of equity and justice. Ndigbo have approximately 30 million voters of Igbo ethnic nationality in the southeast, the northern states, and the southwest. It is time for these votes to be organized and channeled in a more strategic manner.
“What people wrongly describe as the “Igbo presidency” rather than a Nigerian president of Igbo origin, and constitutional restructuring, are not mutually exclusive (Barack Obama did not run a ‘Black American presidency’ because he was the first black President of the United States, it was still an American presidency.) Both will be beneficial for all of Nigeria. I therefore beg to disagree with the view that Ndigbo should focus only on a campaign for restructuring and should be uninterested in the quest for the presidency. That is a defeatist approach, an implicit acceptance of a negative condition instead of a proactive struggle within a democratic context to overcome it.
“Ndigbo must take greater interest in the need for fundamental electoral reform. Arguing for restructuring while neglecting the imperative of electoral reform is short-sighted, for it is only an open and transparent electoral system, one with a truly independent electoral arbiter that can throw up a leader who will lead the restructuring of Nigeria. Clearly, the leadership in Nigeria today lacks the will to take this essential step to make Nigeria work again.
“We must redouble efforts at regional integration and infrastructure in the Southeast states. Success in this quest will benefit the region and even Nigeria as a whole. Ndigbo should aggressively pursue the renaissance of Igbo culture and language at home and abroad in order to restore Igbo self-confidence. I am very pleased to see that this is already happening.
“The origins of Nollywood are mainly Igbo and, after lagging behind, Yoruba and Hausa TV entertainment channels, Igbo artistes now have one. There are now “Igbo Days” on Twitter when Ndigbo tweet completely in Igbo language – and other Nigerians from other ethnic groups have asked for translations in English so they too can join the fun. There must be a unified Nigerian world view if our country is to prosper. But there also can be an Igbo worldview within the Nigerian one, a worldview that is not anti-Nigerian, but promotes Igbo culture and cosmology while reaching out across ethnic divides.
“Special effort must be put into achieving an Igbo-Yoruba entente that breaks the mistrust of the past between the two main ethnic blocs, just as engagement with our brothers in the North remains essential. This should be a positive, not negative, use of inter-ethnic relations. I am pleased to see a far greater intermingling of our young people across ethnic boundaries, and, in particular, it appears that young Igbo and Yoruba are marrying themselves as if the world will end tomorrow.”
– Nov. 8, 2019 @ 17:05 GMT |